Danny Lasoski kicked off the 18th Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals by romping to victory lane in Wednesday night's 25-lap preliminary feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Lasoski survived several cautions to lead 11th-starter Davey Ray and 20th-starter Dan Boorse to the checkered flag. Steve Buckwalter edged Ray Bull at the stripe for the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday night's O'Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals finale.
California's Thomas Meseraul earned the pole position for Wednesday night's feature by charging from sixth to win the first of nine heat races, with Lasoski, who duplicated Meseraul's passing feat in the next heat race, alongside.
After the initial start was waved off for a multi-car tangle in turn four, Lasoski outgunned Meseraul to snare the early lead. Meseraul's fine outing would come to a premature end following a lap two incident that sent him pitside for the evening.
The only thing that slowed Lasoski's lightning-quick pace aboard Jerry Russell's Esslinger-powered Eagle were four more cautions over the remainder of the race, including the final stoppage after 17 rounds when Josh Lakatos smacked the turn one wall.
Lasoski slipped away from the field following each caution, racing to the checkered flag unabated with nearly a straightaway advantage when the checkered flag flew. With a pair of Chili Bowl runner-up showings in 1997 and 2001, Lasoski moved a step closer to his first Chili Bowl crown with the qualifying victory.
After starting sixth, Joey Montgomery had charged into second by the second circuit. Montgomery held the runner-up slot until making his exit to the pit area with mechanical woes after the lap 17 caution.
After starting 17th, four-time ARDC Midget champion Ray Bull took over fourth on the 18th round, only to have 16th-starter Steve Buckwalter dash by in the final corner to snatch the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday's main event by the narrowest of margins.
Bull settled for fifth, with Joe Boyles, R.J. Johnson, 15th-starter Garrett Hansen, 22nd-starter Justin Allgaier and Tim Siner completing the top ten.
Meseraul, Lasoski, Siner, Boyles, Ray, Donnie Lehmann, Buckwalter, Teddy Beach and Don Droud, Jr., snared heat race victories for Wednesday night's 63-car field. Harley Slotten and Toby Brown topped the twin 12-lap C Features, with Bull and Boston Reid winning the twin 15-lap B Mains.
Jim Doyle, Nick Lundgreen, Paul White, Don Hammer and Craig Carey were all heat race flip victims. Lundgreen took an even wilder ride in the first C Feature, while Mike Kertscher, John Giffin and Derek Mungor all took B Feature tumbles. All drivers emerged unscathed.
By: Lonnie Wheatley